Creative Resistance And Utopian Subjectivities: Zapatista Autonomy As Discourse, Power, And Practice

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sydney Blume (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Brian Burke

Abstract: This thesis explores the Zapatistas’ autonomous project based on an alternative discourse that acts as resistance to the hegemonic system of neoliberalism and the regimes of power that maintain it. Drawing from Escobar’s (1995) post-structuralist discursive analysis, it traces the reinforcing relations of power in the hegemonic system through examining the development discourse, its connections to coloniality, and its privileging of Euro-centric forms knowledge which shape subjectivities to set the limits of possibility and, in that, assert violence towards non-dominant peoples and the environment. Thus, in order to change the dominant order and prevent this violence, there must be change at the level of discourse. The Zapatistas have created an alternative discourse (Zapatismo) that provides the basis for utopian creative resistance through opening the limits of possibility and capacitating people to create their ideal realities. The thesis explores the effects of this discourse on resistance through examining its new forms of knowledge, power, and subjectivities, and subsequent influence on the creation of Zapatista autonomous communities and the successes of the Zapatistas’ autonomous education and health systems. It argues that the Zapatistas’ emphasis on utopian creative resistance, autonomy, and pluralism can inform non-hegemonic, anti-systemic approaches in future resistance movements.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Blume, S. (2018). "Creative Resistance And Utopian Subjectivities: Zapatista Autonomy As Discourse, Power, And Practice." Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2018
Zapatistas, autonomy, creative resistance, utopian subjectivity, anti-systemic social movements

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